Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Ugliest FAIL

Yesterday, the US House of Representatives passed its most counterproductive legislation... In the past 3+ years of passing hardly anything. Last night, the House voted to impeach sue President Obama for engaging in oral sex Arkansas real estate Benghazi IRS Bergdahl climate action workplace equality Obamacare.

Congress will adjourn for August recess tonight. And despite Congressional Republican "leaders" huffing and puffing over "border security" earlier this month, they may ultimately leave Capitol Hill tonight with no bill passed. No really, they can't even settle on a border bill.

As usual, Congressional Republican "leaders" can't even lead their own flock to water when they're all thirsty as f**k. And as usual, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Courvoisier) can't even muster enough support for his own bill. So after stripping provisions to actually deal with the #BorderChildren problem and instead larding it up with deport DREAMers drivel, Speaker Boehner tried this last ditch effort to improve his party's "optics" while saving his own behind from overly ambitious G-O-TEA politicians on the other side of Capitol Hill... And the 21st Century Know Nothings those overly ambitious politicians are pandering to.

Hell, even the ammosexuals are now jumping into the fray.

No, wait, scratch that. Ammosexuals have already been in the fray for some time. Cliven Bundy has already given his official seal of approval to the renewed "Patriot Movement" anti-immigrant campaign. And long time anti-immigrant militia leader Jim Gilchrist now suggests it may be time to "fight lawlessness with lawlessness" as he sympathizes with someone who wants to stuff refugee children into gas chambers.

No wonder why Reps. Steve King (R-Looney Tunes) & Michele Bachmann (R-Bats**t Crazy) were trying to out-crazy each other on WorldNetDaily.

And no wonder why "Basic Plumbing Lessons" Louie Gohmert (R-Idiot) felt the urge to turn up the crazy (and add more stupid to the mix). It's #BundyRanch all over again. And this time, they're fighting a "Range War" against children.

Remember when we warned you about the likes of Gilchrist and the Arizona State Militia? They're definitely back. And they're as dangerous as ever.

Now that Congressional G-O-TEA "leaders" have abandoned even the "optics" of basic governance while embracing radical rhetoric, they're inviting even more militia madness to the border. And what makes this situation even more frightening is that they don't seem to care. They don't seem to care that they're (once again) flirting with dangerous extremists who are willing to murder to "start the revolution".

Congress had the chance to properly handle this border situation. And really, Congress had the chance to pass comprehensive immigration reform to address the overall issue. But no, Speaker John Boehner didn't want to deal with reality. He preferred cheap political games instead.

Speaker Boehner can blame President Obama, Senator Harry Reid (D), and whoever else he wants, but he can't change the fact that he's letting his caucus leave for August recess without passing any kind of helpful immigration legislation. He can't change the fact that he's allowed members of his caucus to parrot misinformation direct from hate groups. And he can't change the fact that he's allowing his party to (again) encourage militia violence.

This may very yet be the ugliest FAIL we've seen emerge from this Congress.

Political Stunt

They did it. They really did it. And as expected, they did it nearly entirely along party lines.

The final vote was 225-201. 5 Republicans ended up joining 196 Democrats in voting against HR 676. Both Reps. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) & Mark Amodei (R-Carson City) voted in favor.

So what did they vote for last night? Essentially, they celebrated the "Prelude to Impeachment".

Congress is about to leave for August recess. And the lower House of Congress had a lengthy "to do list" to tackle before leaving. The House accomplished nothing on that list. Instead, House Republican "leaders" embarked on their last ditch effort to placate their party's true leaders.

Suffice to say, they're still not amused. And suffice to say, none of the House Democrats were amused by this maelstrom of nonsense. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Paradise) certainly was not.

We can understand why Rep. Titus is upset. That full "to do list" remains completely unfulfilled. Comprehensive immigration reform? Nope, and they couldn't even agree on a supplemental border bill. Unemployment insurance (UI) extension? Nope, there's still no end date for the unnecessary #RenewUI tragedy. All inclusive ENDA? Nope, instead they want to launch this law suit because President Obama dared to make up for their inaction with a limited executive order targeting some anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination! Oh, and they want to launch this law suit because the President may take some further executive action on immigration reform.

And of course, the list goes on. Among other things, they have screamed at President Obama for doing what they refused to do to combat both climate change and economic ruin. They have also fumed at President Obama for trying to fill some of the void they left when they refused to even consider raising the minimum wage and America's standard of living. Congress had the chance to do something on all this and more, but instead House Republican "leaders" decided to throw an Impeachapalooza pre-party.

And here we are. Here we are, gazing at perhaps the most epic of EPIC FAILs we've ever seen emerge from Congress. No wonder why Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) is not impressed.

Neither are most Americans outside the Beltway. Hell, even the Republicans' own "TEA" fueled base are not satisfied by this barely veiled political stunt. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Grand Marnier) may be patting himself on the back over this blatantly political stunt... And he's the only one amused by this.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Missed Opportunity

It's now official. They're wetting their pants. They may even be sh**ting their pants as well.

And why's that? For one, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Bad@$$) just called House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Cointreau) border games bluff. He thought he could just pander some more to his "TEA" powered base, but he forgot about that little thing called the US Senate (and its Majority Leader, Harry Reid).

Over a year ago, the US Senate passed S 744. Senator Dean Heller (R) and 13 other Senate Republicans voted for this bill. And it's been stuck in the House ever since.

Why? House Republican "leaders" always talk #4jobs, but they never come up with any real legislation. This and HR 15 (the House companion bill) gave them the opportunity to match their words with real action. Yet when presented with this opportunity to solve priblems and boost economic growth, they instead reached for more excuses for inaction.

Why? We keep wondering. And so does Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California).

The House had the opportunity to follow in the Senate's footsteps. Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) and the other lead Democrats behind HR 15 even reached out to a number of Republicans for support. Yet still, there was no floor vote. Still, there was no action on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).

Then, the national media began to pick up the #BorderChildren story, Congressional Republican "leaders" merely saw this as an opportunity... To pander to the 21st Century Know Nothings in the worst possible way. They decided to forego any real solutions to the #BorderChildren problem and instead scream about "rape paths" and birth control.

Yep, "King of Crazy" Steve King (R-Iowa?) is still calling the shots in the lower House of Congress. And not only is he blocking any kind of CIR, and not only does he want to deport both refugee children and American DREAMers, but he also wants that little thing caled impeachment.

Instead of fostering the best that America has to offer and putting our best foot forward, we're missing opportunities. Instead of ensuring humane treatment of refugee children and pursuing new economic opportunities, we're wasting time debating nonsense. Yet instead of acknowledging the missed opportunities and recommitting to pursuing them, House Republican leaders and their loyal lackies (cough- Joe Heck -cough) on the back bench are chasing after dreams of impeachment while denying their very actions to the media. They missed the opportunity to be productive, so now they must face the consequences of their duplicitous sloth.

Rhetoric v. Reality

It hasn't been easy trying to get Congress to agree on anything... Lately. Period.

It's especially been difficult trying to get Congress to agree on any sort of gun safety legislation. The House struggled just to approve more funding for the national background checks system. And even though a majority of Senators supported closing the various background checks loopholes (that criminals exploit to obtain lethal weapons they're not supposed to obtain), the NRA convinced just enough Senators to filibuster a modest background checks bill to death.

Senator Dean Heller (R-NRA) took part in that filibuster. Yet a month after he blocked that background checks bill (and his approval rating subsequently slipped), Senator Heller then turned around and claimed he voted for background checks legislation. He lied to constituents, and those constituents didn't appreciate that.

He's at it again. In a Vaseline smeared interview with the Las Vegas Sun's Amber Phillips, Senator Heller equivocated some more when he parsed over the language of background checks and the "philosophy of gun rights". Just like his patrons at the NRA, Senator Heller prefers debating theoretical language over discussing real policy.

It was all too convenient for Senator Heller that the Sun interview dropped yesterday. That's also when Everytown dropped its new ad in support of S 1290.

Remember the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)? Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) recently introduced S 1290 to strengthen VAWA by closing loopholes that allow domestic abusers and stalkers to obtain lethal firearms. Yet despite Senator Heller's "No Labels" label and recent change of language on gun violence, he's remained cagey as to whether he'll even allow a final vote on S 1290.

Of course, Senator Heller's BFFs at the NRA are whipping hard against S 1290... Because, you know, it's so committed to "civil rights". And by "civil rights", the NRA means the right of LGBTQ folk to shoot each other dead. Way to go on "rebranding", NRA. Oh, and by the way, we've yet to see the NRA endorse any legislation that would actually advance LGBTQ civil rights.

There's rhetoric, then there's reality. The NRA loves to engage in "philosophical discussions on civil rights", yet it refuses to admit to the reality of gun violence. Senator Heller loves to debate the language of theories and "ideas", yet he's failed to actually support any real gun safety legislation... Yet. He now has a chance to change that, but means he must agree to drop the "philosophical" rhetoric and engage in actual reality.

False Dichotomy

We're used to seeing this framed a certain way. We're used to hearing that "we can't afford it". So what if we can't afford not to do it?

Ever since President Obama announced his plan to take on climate change, the usual G-O-TEA suspects have been trying to take it down. Even though strong climate action benefits the economy, they keep framing it as a false dichotomy between "good earth" and "good jobs".

Yesterday's Council of Economic Advisors report not only obliterated that false dichotomy, but it completely reframed this matter in a more accurate manner. The report demonstrated how further delays of aggressive climate action would actually cost the US Economy $150 billion a year. And that means further delays in climate action would ultimately cause an additional 40% in economic losses.

Ouch. That's downright frightening. And that's the price we must pay if we delay serious action. (No wonder why Senator Sheldon Whitehouse [D-Rhode Island] didn't hold back when he criticized his colleagues' climate inaction.)

Nevada and the rest of the nation stand to lose plenty if we fail to act on climate change. On the other hand, Nevada and the rest of the nation stand to gain mightily if we invest in a cleaner & greener renewable energy future.

For years, we've been hearing this false dichotomy. It has no basis in facts. Everyone from Wall Street titans to the governments of the European Union & Mexico has accepted the science and responded accordingly.

So why must we still act as if there's any truth to this false dichotomy? Just because some G-O-TEA politicians and their fossil fueled patrons don't want to acknowledge the truth doesn't mean we can afford to ignore the truth.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What Boobs

They still haven't learned. And no, not even an entire online TV channel can save the fine folks at the NRA from their own insani-TEA. Hell, not even an entire online TV channel can save the NRA (and its BFF Open Carry Texas) from an army of topless women armed with "boobs for peace"!

But wait, there's more. Not wanting to be outdone by a bunch of ragtag Texas women daring to "bare it all", the NRA decided to go Godwin.

Oh, yes. That's right. An NRA lobbyist Brian Judy actually compared expansion of background checks to the genocidal tyranny of Nazi Germany. Wait, what?!

The NRA and its "TEA" powered allies in Washington State are furious over Seattle venture capitalist Nick Hanauer supporting I-594. So not only did the NRA decide to engage in "Everyone gets a gun!" style socialism, but one of its Washington lobbyists actually attacked Hanauer, his Jewish heritage. And then, he claimed Hanauer is trying to disarm the proletariat, provoke Helter Skelter, and celebrate his family's escape from Nazi Germany by endorsing the alleged policies that would have exterminated them.

Wait, what?! We know the NRA is trying hard to "rebrand" itself as "the nation's oldest civil rights organization", but this is just beyond the pale. It was bad enough when the NRA celebrated George Zimmerman's ruthless slaughter of Trayvon Martin. It only worsened when the NRA then encouraged Cliven Bundy and his "Patriot Movement" comrades to start a "Range War" in Bunkerville. And it only became more tragically revolting when the NRA's favorite G-O-TEA politicians boasted about being "what stood in the way" of mere background checks legislation (like Washington's I-594) that could have prevented Jerad & Amanda Miller from obtaining the weapons they needed to slaughter two Las Vegas Metro police officers and one civilian in June.

Those women in Austin may have revealed their bare breasts as a response to ammosexual idiocy, but the NRA and its allies seem to be the real boobs here. Either they're incredibly clueless about their own "legacy of civil rights", or they're attempting to be "too clever by half" by adopting this rhetoric. Either way, they sound like idiots. Either way, they're the ultimate boobs.

Careful What You Wish For

Is this truly a surprise? No, it really isn't. He was already positioning himself for this earlier in the year.

Rep. Joe Heck (R-Flip-flop) released a video yesterday blaming President Obama for #BorderChildren. Even though Congress passed and then President George W. Bush (R) signed overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation in 2002 and 2008 to ensure due process and proper humanitarian assistance for refugee children, Rep. Heck and his fellow G-O-TEA Culture Warriors on Capitol Hill now want to impeach "punish" President Obama for carrying out current federal law.

Oh, and of course, they want to "punish" the President for the way he's currently enforcing federal law. But why's that? Isn't this what they want? Nope, they actually want to please Laura Ingraham and her army of 21st Century Know Nothings with their "Border-line Grandstanding".

Early this month, President Obama proposed an emergency aid package to address the Central American refugee crisis. He's also offered to work with Congressional Republicans on whatever configuration of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) that they're willing to consider. Republican "leaders" on Capitol Hill never took up the President's CIR offers, and they're even refusing to address the current refugee issue.

Just as Rep. Joe Heck flip-flopped on CIR (again) when he saw an opportunity to fundraise, Congressional Republican "leaders" now see any & all immigration related issues as "political issues" ripe to exploit for partisan gain.

This comes as no surprise to us. We could smell the pandering from miles away. And we're not the only ones who can smell their impeachment games from just about anywhere.

G-O-TEA politicians just need to be careful what they wish for... Because they themselves are wishing it into reality. And the more they wish and hope and pray for Deport-o-mania and Impeachapalooza, the more they're inviting blowback they'll later regret encouraging.

General Issue

It happened again. Another court weighed down on the side of equality. However, this time was special.

This time, an appellate court ruled unequivocally in favor of marriage equality. And unlike the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals' rather restrained ruling that overturned (just) California's marriage ban in 2012, the Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals did not hold back when striking down Virginia's marriage ban. In fact, this ruling doesn't stop at the Virginia state line.

While the 3 judge panel at the Fourth Circuit specifically took on Virginia marriage law in this case, they ruled 2-1 in favor of a strong rebuke of marriage discrimination on 5th and 14th Amendment grounds that applies to the entire region covered by the Fourth Circuit. The majority opinion was strong enough for North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) to declare he will no longer defend his state's marriage ban in court. And for the record, North Carolina also falls under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals (along with Maryland, South Carolina, and West Virginia).

This Fourth Circuit ruling comes just month after the Tenth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals struck down Utah's and Oklahoma's respective marriage bans. And it comes about 4 months before the Ninth Circuit takes on marriage equality again as Nevada's own Sevcik v. Sandoval law suit arrives in San Francisco. And with Governor Brian Sandoval (R) and outgoing Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) both declining to defend Nevada's marriage ban any longer, Nevada may soon go the way of California and Virginia.

Outgoing Secretary of State and current Attorney General candidate Ross Miller (D) refused to mince words when he delivered a passionate legal and personal endorsement of marriage equality in Reno last month. His general election opponent, Adam Laxalt (R), has dismissed this and other LGBTQ civil rights matters as mere "political issues" that he prefers to mock and demean.

Funny enough, Virginia Republicans have been screaming at Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) ever since he decided to drop the state's defense of its marriage ban. Perhaps they even sensed this was coming, as Virginia Republicans spent millions trying to defeat Mark Herring in the very hotly contested Attorney General race last year.

A State Attorney General's job is to defend both the state constitution and the federal constitution. But when the 2 are in conflict, the US Constitution trumps all. Ross Miller seems to understand this, yet Adam Laxalt does not. Keep an eye on this, as it may become a "political issue" this fall that Mr. Laxalt may later come to regret mocking.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Unhealthful Hot Air

Last week, we had the tale of the dueling appellate court rulings. This week, we just have a whole lot of hot air.

G-O-TEA media spinners had seized on comments made by Obamacare/Affordable Care Act (ACA) architect Jonathan Gruber suggesting that health insurance tax credits truly are supposed to be denied to consumers in the 36 states operating in the federal health insurance exchange. They figured this was their "smoking gun". But then, Jonathan Gruber himself refuted their misinterpretation of something he said 2 years ago.

And then, there's this. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) blamed President Obama and the ACA for what may be a growing number of uninsured Mississippi residents. He also declined to admit he refused to allow ACA Medicaid expansion in Mississippi, and that he's taken additional steps to disrupt ACA implementation in his state. Whoops.

Oh, and let's not forget House Speaker John Boehner (R-Courvoisier) and his incredibly confusing USA Today op-ed. He declared he's as fervently opposed to Obamacare as ever... And that's why he's preparing to impeach suing President Obama to implement Obamacare more quickly?! Oops?

Thanks to Obamacare, more Americans have health insurance. And Medicare is more solvent. And the federal budget dedicit is dropping. And states not run by G-O-TEA radicals (including Nevada) want to keep those lower insurance rates. And all this success is making G-O-TEA politicians livid.

So they're suing. And they're whining. And they're complaining. And of course, they're spinning.

They just fail to recognize all this toxic hot air isn't healthful. Really, they need to step back. Oh, and they should see how Obamacare gives them better options in treating what we hope isn't a preexisting condition.


Last week, someone was arrested. She registered to vote in Clark County... Twice, as a Republican and as a Democrat. And Biqui Diana Parra Rodriguez has been caught.

In April, Hortencia Segura registered as a Republican in Washoe County... Even though she's not a citizen. And she was caught.

Last week, Washington State Rep. (and aspiring Hollywood beefcake) Mike Hope (R) resigned from the Washington Legislature when news reports revealed that he has been registered to vote in Washington State and Ohio since last summer. Once he resigned, Mike Hope then revealed that he hasn't had a permanent address in his district for a while. In fact, he no longer has a permanent address anywhere in Washington State. He's now relocating back to Ohio. Oh yes, and he has been caught.

Notice a pattern here? For one, all these registration fraud cases just happened to involve Republican voter registrations. And ultimately, all of them were rather quickly caught.

But of course, certain G-O-TEA politicians (cough- Barbara Cegavske -cough) are now demanding voter suppression. And of course, they do so whenever stories like these emerge. Never mind that members of their own party were doing it. Never mind that they're advocating a system where voters are presumed guilty before they can prove their innocence, something that is the exact opposite of American legal tradition. And never mind that the tiny handful of people who try their hands at voter registration fraud are ultimately caught in a rather short amount of time.

So why are they now demanding voter suppression (again)? Why do they want to risk violating the legitimate voting rights of many thousands of Nevadans and millions more Americans? Why are they demanding a "solution" in search of a problem?

The jig is up. They've been caught. We can see right through this latest political stunt, and we sense we're not alone.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Please Pardon Our (Broken Smartphone).

Unfortunately, we ran into a terrible accident last Thursday. Our "mobile blogging device" slipped and fell while we were out. And sadly, our electronic companion won't be making it.

If you'd like to share condolences for our trusted "mobile blogging device", you may do so here. Otherwise, please hold tight while we await the arrival of our new electronic life partner and soulmate.

Hopefully, we won't be out of commission too much longer. It's just difficult typing on a shattered screen. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

We hope to be back up to full speed once our new "mobile blogging device" arrives this week!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Not Their Strong Suit

We know where they're going with this. We've known for some time where they're going with this. We already know their final destination is Impeachapalooza.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Newport) can cry all he wants about his beloved law suit, but we all know what's actually hiding behind it. (Here's a hint for all who are still wondering what is: impeachment.) Oh, and speaking of that law suit against President Obama for daring to do his job, the House Judiciary Committee voted strictly along party lines (7-4) to authorize it.

So why do House Republicans want to impeach sue President Obama? Apparently, he issues executive orders every once in a while. And sometimes, he'll issue executive orders on major policies, such as the one barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBTQ workers. Occasionally, he's even refused to defend certain statutes in court when he's considered them unconstitutional (such as DOMA, and the US Supreme Court ultimately agreed with him on that). Even though numerous other Presidents have issued executive orders and exercised broad discretion when enforcing statutes, House G-O-TEA "leaders" now express "OUTRAGE!!!" over this President and his executive actions.

Why might that be? Do they truly object to executive power? (If so, where were they when George W. Bush was President?) Or do they just object to what President Obama is doing with it?

If House Republican "leaders" so strongly object to the content of the President's executive actions, they can always correct this by actually allowing floor votes on permanent legislation. They can finally allow a floor vote on an all-inclusive ENDA. They can ensure transgender Americans have the same access to health care coverage as everyone else. And they can guarantee that married LGBTQ families receive equal treatment under the law.

However, they're not doing any of that. Instead, they whine about "teh gay cootiez" as they complain about President Obama still being President Obama. And they wonder why we simply can't take this farce of a law suit seriously?

Here's the Solution.

Yesterday, it offered its latest "solution" for "security". And yes, that "solution" involves more guns. The NRA wouldn't have it any other way, even if that means more guns in schools.

Yet while the NRA is busy "rebranding", gun safety advocates seem to be busy preparing to win some elections.

.@OFA_NV & @Everytown vol's calling 4 #YesOn594 #Gun... on Twitpic

.@OFA_NV phone bank 4 WA #YesOn594 #GunSense #BackgroundCheck... on Twitpic

Last night, we dropped by an OFA phone bank. And this wasn't just any phone bank. Southern Nevada volunteers were calling into Washington State for I-594.

Why? Initiative 594 (I-594) is the background checks initiative on this fall's ballot there. Just like Nevada, a handful of politicians in Olympia (Washington's State Capital) blocked a background checks bill that had strong public support. So after the bill died in the State Capitol, gun safety advocates gathered more than enough signatures to place I-594 on the 2014 general election ballot.

Last night, OFA volunteers in Henderson were calling voters in Washington State to explain I-594 and ask them to vote for this background checks initiative. The NRA & gun industry have been hoping that lower midterm turnout and snazzy "media strategy" would be enough to kill I-594. But last night, volunteers were calling voters the NRA wasn't counting on to vote. And they were sharing with these voters the message the NRA doesn't want them to hear.

.@OFA_NV standing w/ WA 4 #YesOn594 #GunSense #NotOneMore #gu... on Twitpic

.@OFA_NV @hendems vol's making calls 4 #YesOn594 #GunSen... on Twitpic

.@OFA_NV & @Everytown team made calls 4 #YesOn594 #GunSen... on Twitpic

While the NRA wants to continue debating the "philosophy" of "well regulated militia" and trying to redefine the English language, the rest of America wants an end to the bloody reign of #gunfail. The rest of America is looking to end the armed madness that senselessly threatens so many lives.

#GunSense will be on the ballot in Washington State this year... And may then be on the ballot in Nevada in 2016. And perhaps in more states, voters will finally have the opportunity to do what the NRA has forbidden so many politicians from even considering. Here may finally be the solution concerned citizens have been looking for.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Today's @NRA #FAIL

When will they ever learn? Here's one more to file in the "Totally Ironic Department": The NRA cares about safety! And even better, "NRA News" commentator Billy Johnson endorses socialism!

Oh, yes. That's right. "Everyone gets a gun."

Billy Johnson thinks more guns and "proper gun education" can magically solve all our problems and make our world a safer place. What could possibly go wrong? Who could ever imagine...

Oh, wait. Did we just hear something from Sparks Middle School?

"More guns" in the hands of minors didn't save Michael Landsberry. Actually, the opposite occurred. And 2 other kids were badly injured last October. Oh yes, and the shooter skillfully demonstrated his "gun education" by committing suicide after killing Landsberry and wounding his 2 other victims.

Look, we get it. The NRA will do and/or say anything to sell more firearms and thereby boost its membership rolls. That doesn't mean the NRA is correct. After all, we've seen what happens when "heat packing" comes to school.

Perhaps instead of setting up the framework for the next Troutdale, Sparks, or Newtown, can't we consider taking action to prevent more of these horrific tragedies? Perhaps instead of creating an environment of even more fear and bloodshed, can't we ensure our schools actually provide a safe and welcoming environment where our kids can focus on learning?

Here's the Issue.

Perhaps since he hasn't been making headlines lately, he's trying this new stunt to garner more media attention. Earlier today, Attorney General candidate Adam Laxalt (R) tweeted this.

MT @AdamLaxalt: Today, I pledge to refuse any political gifts as #NVAG and I urge Ross Miller to do same. …/Good issue.

Yep, that was Jon Ralston saying it's a "good issue". And perhaps he's right. After all, outgoing Secretary of State and current Attorney General candidate Ross Miller (D) has already been working on the issue of campaign finance reform. What's Adam Laxalt's history on this issue?

Oh, and why is he now tweeting about this issue? Why does he now want to talk about "gifts"? Might it be due to his discomfort whenever folks in the media talk too much about his favorite "political issue"?

Come on, Adam! We know how strongly you feel about this "political issue". We know how strongly you feel about the great threat that gender neutral restrooms, marriage equality, children's movies, and out athletes pose to this great state & nation.

No matter how much they talk about "Republican rebranding", G-O-TEA politicians never seem to want to talk about their record on LGBTQ civil rights. They don't want to talk about how they compare marriage equality to graffiti. They don't want to talk about how they continue to disparage transgender people and mock our very existence. And of course, they don't want to talk about their continuing "militant" opposition to basic human rights.

Sure, we recognize that not all Republicans want to continue hiding in the Stone Age. State Senator Ben Kieckhefer (R-Reno) quite bravely stuck his neck out for marriage equality in Carson City last year, even as Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) decided to whip against it (after telling the media he'd support the marriage amendment). And just this week, US Rep. David Jolly (R-Florida) announced he changed his mind on marriage equality while top Florida Republicans continue to fight against it in court.

Notice that? They're still the exceptions rather than the rule. They're still the ones bucking "leadership" while "leaders" still fail to lead. They're still the ones with "issues" because they're sick and tired of ducking this issue that continues to cause pain in people's lives.

Here's the issue: Politicians like Adam Laxalt want to continue pretending that they're not the ones with "issues" even thought they're always the ones taking issue with the very notion of civil rights for LGBTQ people. So after they spit out more incendiary rhetoric and throw more "red meat" at their 21st Century Know Nothing base, they then turn around to blame the victim for forcing "political issues" on them. Clearly, they're still in denial. And clearly, they're the ones with all the wrong "issues" here.

Deja Vu, Bundy

And like this, he's back. After a string of embarrassing incidents, such as losing control of his own organization and watching one of his top lieutenants go on trial for murder, Jim Gilchrist wants a comeback.

And not only does he want a comeback, but he also wants thousands of "volunteers" to return to the US-Mexico Border with him. He's launching "Operation Normandy" with hopes of gathering at least 3,500 people to join him at the border. Oh yes, and he claims he wants everyone on good behavior.

Good luck with that. We haven't forgotten the "good behavior" of Shawna Forde and JT Ready. Has Gilchrist?

We doubt Cliven Bundy has. He rode to fame on the backs of the "Patriot Movement". And even after the cable "news" cameras and national newspaper reporters left Bunkerville, Cliven Bundy and his gang of "outlaw cowboys" have continued their "Range War" against the rule of law.

We can understand why G-O-TEA politicians want to forget the armed madness that the Bundy Gang wreaked upon the Virgin Valley earlier this year. It's embarrassing. It's revolting. And it certainly doesn't make for "good optics" during an election year.

However, it's not a good idea for us to forget. It's not a good idea for us to forget the great Bundy folly. It's not a good idea for us to forget Jerad & Amanda Miller. It's not a good idea for us to forget Brent Douglas Cole. It's not a good idea for us to forget Shawna Forde & JT Ready. And it's not a good idea for us to forget the dangerous ideology of hate that encourages all this dangerous, violent behavior.

Oh, and it would be nice if more of those "TEA" fueled media pundits who stoked the flames of #BundyRanch remember the folly of what they did a mere 3 months ago... Because they're doing it again.


Yesterday, we witnessed the tale of the conflicting appellate court rulings. While a 3 judge panel of the DC Circuit Federal Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to strike down Obamacare health insurance tax credits for working class families in 36 states, a 3 judge panel of the nearby Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals voted unanimously to uphold the Obamacare/Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax credits. Of course, the usual G-O-TEA suspects cheered on the DC Circuit ruling. And of course, that means the usual G-O-TEA suspects want to raise taxes on the middle class & working poor.

Wait, what?! Oh, yes. That's right. 87% of Obamacare enrollees in the 36 states under the federal health insurance exchange would lose their tax credits if the plaintiffs succeed in Halbig v. Burwell. So essentially, they'd have to pay higher taxes. And health insurance premiums for all consumers in these 36 states would rise by an average of 76%. Oh, and some 6.5 million Americans would lose insurance coverage. So basically, G-O-TEA politicians are cheering on a health insurance "death spiral" that would result in higher taxes and less health care for many millions of Americans. (Just don't tell them they lost in King v. Burwell, and their chances of killing Obamacare in court don't look good going forward.)

Where's Grover Norquist? Where are the "TEA" fueled purists? We thought they were against raising taxes. And we thought they didn't want consumers hit with higher costs.

Perhaps they were too busy demanding the arrests (and firings) of working mothers? Debra Harrell was just fired by McDonald's after she was arrested for letting her daughter play in a park. No really, she was arrested for letting her 9 year old daughter play outside. And she was essentially arrested for being too poor to afford day care.

But wait, whatever happened to "LIBERTY!!!" Whatever happened to "FREEDOM!!!"? Whatever happened to "DON'T TREAD ON ME!!!"? Apparently for the usual G-O-TEA suspects, it's perfectly OK for "BIG GUV'MINT!!!" to arrest working parents for letting their kids play outside because they're too poor to afford summer camp.

Isn't it ironic? For all the G-O-TEA talk of "low taxes" and "limited government", they want the working poor to pay higher taxes and face police state style oversight simply because they work at or near minimum wage level pay? Why is this? Might it be due to their desire for "low taxes" and "limited government" only for those who can afford it?

Might we possibly be witnessing a tale of a party spouting an ideology rooted in paradox? Or do these "TEA" powered politicians just detest the middle class and working poor so much that they just don't care about their nonsensical "philosophy of governance"?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Border Games

Wait, wasn't this a catastrophe? Wasn't this an "INVASION!!!"? Wasn't this some "declaration of war"?

All of a sudden, it isn't any more. Actually, it never actually was in the first place. Remember, we've been talking about refugees, and mostly child refugees at that.

But now that G-O-TEA politicians have turned the Central American refugee crisis into a political football game, they're throwing any & all serious policy questions over the goal post and out the window. Send in the National Guard (who can't make arrests)! Attack that YMCA bus! And don't forget to deport those DREAMers!

Yet while these G-O-TEA politicians wax poetic about their "philosophy of principles for (what reform?)", kids are stuffed into kennels. No really, these children are being kept in chain link cages. And this is the America we want the world to see?

We can only wonder if this is what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) had in mind when he took to the Senate floor yesterday. While he spent some time debunking the "#SecureTheBorder" myths, he also addressed the real humanitarian crisis on our hands.

Yet instead of heeding this call to real action, the usual G-O-TEA suspects want to continue playing their Border Games. Even as they're being called out on their farce, they keep playing.

And to make this matter even worse, certain other politicians prefer to turn their backs to these refugees. "Children? What children?! Keep those dirty buggers away from my state!"

If only we had more leaders like Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (D)...

And if only the above mentioned political "players" could stop playing Border Games with real people's lives.

Frivolous Law Suit

They couldn't stop it when it was originally in Congress. They couldn't gather enough votes to repeal it thereafter. They couldn't get it completely overturned in court. And they couldn't defeat the President who fought for the bill and signed it into law.

So now, they're doing whatever they can to undermine it. And if that means striking a painful blow to working families, so be it. If that means making health insurance unaffordable for 6.5 million Americans, so be it.

Earlier today, a 3 judge panel on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Halbig v. Burwell. It just so happens that 2 of those judges are Republican appointees, and 1 in particular has been notorious for his ideological tirades from the bench. So of course, it was a 2-1 vote to essentially blow up Obamacare by removing health insurance tax credits from the 36 states on the federal health insurance exchange. (And now that Nevada's exchange is a state/federal partnership, we may be affected by this ruling.)

This ruling isn't the end of this story, far from it. The Obama Administration will request an en banc hearing of the full court. And since the full DC Circuit Court now has an 8-5 Democratic/Republican composition, there's more than a decent chance this 3 judge panel decision will be overturned by the full court.

And then, there's this. At the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, a 3 judge panel ruled in favor of the defendants in King v. Burwell. And that ruling was unanimous. Here's what Senior Judge Andre Davis wrote in the unanimous panel decision.

"I am pleased to join in full the majority’s holding that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “permits” the Internal Revenue Service to decide whether premium tax credits should be available to consumers who purchase health insurance coverage on federally-run Exchanges. But I am also persuaded that, even if one takes the view that the Act is not ambiguous in the manner and for the reasons described, the necessary outcome of this case is precisely the same. That is, I would hold that Congress has mandated in the Act that the IRS provide tax credits to all consumers regardless of whether the Exchange on which they purchased their health insurance coverage is a creature of the state or the federal bureaucracy."

So now, we have 2 competing 3 judge panel decisions. And both look set to receive en banc reviews. And both may end up at the door of the US Supreme Court (where the majority already upheld the foundation of the Affordable Care Act in June 2012).

They couldn't stop it in 2010. They couldn't repeal it in 2011. They couldn't sue it to death or defeat the President who championed it in 2012. And they couldn't even shut down the government to defund it to death in 2013. So now, the usual G-O-TEA suspects are back in court in yet another last ditch effort to sue it to death today. They don't mind hurting millions of Americans just to score political points... And they still don't realize the futility of their frivolous law suits and careless obstruction.


Whatever happened to "fiscal responsibility"? Whatever happened to austerity? Whatever happened to "live within your means"? Oh, and whatever does Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Austerity) have to say about this?

Outgoing Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) has decided to pull another political stunt on the border. Fresh off his ammosexual orgy "heat packing display" with Sean Hannity, Rick Perry decided to send about 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the US-Mexico Border. And he wants the federal government to pay for this political stunt National Guard deployment.

Remember that National Guard troops are not authorized to make arrests. And keep in mind that Congress can easily alleviate the situation in South Texas by approving the $3.7 billion emergency appropriations bill that President Obama has proposed. Oh, and the comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation that Perry's fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill rejected would have added even more border security on top of the already aggressive border security regime that President Obama already has in place. (How does Rick Perry think all these #BorderChildren have been picked up by Border Patrol?)

So why is Rick Perry now doing this? Why is he ordering roughly 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the US-Mexico Border? Why is he ordering troops who can't even make arrests and demanding the feds pay for them? Why won't he instead do something more productive?

Well, why did infamous G-O-TEA pot stirrer Laura Ingraham concoct a brand new anti-Obama conspiracy theory centered on the downed Malaysian Airlines plane in eastern Ukraine? Why did G-O-TEA Demon Queen professional flame thrower Ann Coulter attack a teenage girl? Why has G-O-TEA conspiracy king Glenn Beck been mercilessly attacked by his own party for suggesting refugee children be treated with compassion?

Whatever happened to policy consistency? Whatever happened to human decency? And whatever happened to good political sense?

Whatever G-O-TEA politicians are thinking... Wait, are they even thinking? Or are they just reacting out of pure stupidi-TEA? Whatever they're doing, it's already a strong contender for "Most Ridiculous Political Stunt of the Year".

Monday, July 21, 2014

Yep, They're Your Typical Republicans.

So we're seeing this again. Once more, we're hearing all about "Republican rebranding". And this time, it's once again coming from an all too familiar source.

Earlier this month, we (again) heard State Senator Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) boast about his aborted illegal mining tax scheme. And then, he topped that with his super secret plan to magically "increase education funding". And just how will he accomplish that? Perhaps he'll eventually get back to us (or maybe his favorite media pundit?) with the details?

In the mean time, Senator Roberson is focusing on more important things... Like glossy mailers proclaiming how he and his hand picked candidates are "not your typical Republican(s)".

And how's that? Didn't they... Oh, wait. All but one in each chamber virulently opposed marriage equality when the Legislature was in session last year. And all but a tiny handful voted against the state version of ENDA in 2011. (And for the record, Roberson voted against both.)

But come on, didn't they... Oh, wait. In 2011, State Senator Michael Roberson led fellow Republican legislators against increased education funding. He also fought against implementation of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare that gave us Medicaid expansion. It was only last year when Senator Roberson suddenly turned around and proposed his destined-to-be-aborted illegal mining tax scheme. And he couldn't even unite his own Republican Caucus behind it. And when the going got tough, he turned back around to embrace the status quo.

Come on now, didn't they... Oh, wait. In a last ditch effort to stop the state background checks bill, Senator Michael Roberson proposed a competing "poison pill bill" during the very last week of the legislative session. Oh, yes. That's right. He & his G-O-TEA colleagues in Carson City resorted to the most underhanded of parliamentary tactics to kill even modest legislation aimed at curbing gun violence.

Now before anyone accuses us of being "blind partisans", let's get this out of the way. When Democratic leaders in Carson City tried to avoid reality, we called them out on it. We even called them out when a sex education bill died a very mysterious death. (And by the way, where was "Not Your Typical Republican" Michael Roberson when this happened?)

We just refuse to look the other way when certain politicians try to have it both ways. Say what you want about current Democratic leaders, but we've never seen them attempt this type of incredibly confusing and flagrantly misleading "rebranding". In this aspect, Michael Roberson and his hand-picked running mates sound a whole lot like your typical garden variety Republicans.

The Order

Last month, President Obama agreed to sign an executive order that has essentially been years in the making. He agreed to an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBTQ workers. While it's not comprehensive, it is a step forward. And it can help fill the gap left by (the lower House of) Congress' failure to pass ENDA.

But in recent days, a new controversy has emerged. In the wake of the US Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, several LGBTQ civil rights organizations pulled their support of the current version of ENDA due to its religious exemptions. They then urged the President not to include any religious exemptions in his planned executive order.

He listened to them. The executive order that President Obama signed earlier today has no religious exemptions beyond what then President George W. Bush ordered for "faith based initiatives". And keep in mind that those "faith based" grants are separate from the federal contracts covered by this new executive order.

However, this may not be the end of it. Now that Hobby Lobby is on the books, it may inspire legal challenges to this executive order. While a full judicial overturn of the executive order seems unlikely now, LGBTQ civil rights advocates aren't taking anything for granted just yet.

And then, there's that other prickly issue, the issue that forced President Obama to sign this executive order in the first place. There's still no national ENDA in place. And now, the usual G-O-TEA suspects on Capitol Hill are blocking any legislative fixes to the statute the Supreme Court majority cited in Hobby Lobby.

As we've discussed here before, wrongful discrimination is still very much a reality for many people throughout the nation today. It can happen to food pantry workers. It can happen to police chiefs. It can happen to sport shop workers. And it can happen to college students.

Perhaps it won't happen at companies that happen to accept federal contracts any more... But when will the day arrive when all workers can live free of the fear that it might happen to them?

Home on Derange

This should be considered common sense. This should be a "no-brainer". Yet for some reason, we keep revisiting this.

On Friday, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) penned an op-ed for The Washington Post explaining exactly why it wasn't a good idea for the G-O-TEA echo chamber to celebrate Cliven Bundy's illegal "Range War". And yesterday, the Las Vegas Sun published an editorial on the issue. Basically, both detailed what we've been keeping track of since April. Need we go over that history again?

Perhaps we should revisit current events. Remember Murrieta? Remember Oracle? It's happening again.

Ironically, they're complaining about the lack of "enforcing the law". Yet when confronted with current anti-trafficking law, they scream in horror.

But then again, they didn't seem to care about the law when Cliven Bundy broke it. Rather, "TEA" flavored politicians and pundits celebrated the culture of lawlessness at #BundyRanch with reckless abandon. They only began to abandon the Bundy Gang when they became politically inconvenient.

However, they haven't actually abandoned the dangerous "Patriot Movement" behind #BundyRanch. Instead, they've moved over to its current cause celebre. Now, they're waging a war against refugee children.

On Saturday, a group of anti-immigrant protesters assembled just above the 215 Freeway in Henderson. Some were carrying signs relaying (misleading) messages that could have easily come directly from John Tanton himself, while a couple were wearing Oath Keepers paraphernalia. And this event was part of a "national day of action" organized by ALIPAC, the anti-immigrant political outfit run by notorious xenophobe William Gheen.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

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(Photos courtesy of a long time reader)

Cliven Bundy's "Range War" is rooted in the same extreme anti-government ideology as the latest anti-immigrant campaign. And both have reached out to anti-government militia groups to further the "war". Yet both have attracted an alarming amount of support among supposedly "mainstream" G-O-TEA politicians and media personalities.

This should be considered common sense. This should be a "no-brainer". Yet for some reason, we're back on the range (war). And once again, we're having to remind some irresponsible political "players" that they're playing with ("sovereign citizen" fueled) fire.